I was part of a group from CDW that recently attended the biannual Technology & Services World (TSW) 2018 conference in Las Vegas. The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) puts on the event in part to help organizations such as CDW learn about creating cross-functional strategies for cost-effectively improving their customer engagement model. For myself, I was hoping to gain some fresh insights into running a more efficient and customer-outcome-oriented service operations organization.
Industry Focus: Improving the Customer Experience
It was a great experience to get the chance to talk to other service providers and share some war stories. I found it very validating in the sense that, from an industry standpoint, my team and I are not operating in a vacuum — we are doing the right things, overall, from a services perspective.
The topics discussed by presenters and roundtable participants ran the gamut, from best practices in improving the customer experience to critical elements of an employee engagement program. Seeing what other players in the services industry are doing gave me a lot of faith in our current leadership and the vision they have for CDW Services — we are following the market. That was very evident upon hearing presentations from several panelists and the TSIA leadership itself.
The Everything as a Service Era
I soaked up so much from this conference, but if I had to boil it all down, my top four takeaways from TSW would be the following:
- Welcome to the Everything as a Service (XaaS) era. The IT economy is well into a transition from the traditional CAPEX product spend approach to acquiring services to XaaS — managed services, professional services, warranty services, etc. CDW was mentioned specifically as a product-heavy business, at risk in future years if we fail to align to the new service economy, including subscription-based and XaaS models. Luckily, we’ve been working to address this for some time through initiatives such as Bold Forward and our shift to more “as a Service” offerings.
- The focus is shifting from consumption to outcome. Subscription-based consumption models will eventually move into more outcome-based models. We are seeing a transition from CAPEX/product spend to subscription-based and will finally move into an outcome-based model. In other words, we are moving from “pay before” to “pay during” and finally to a “pay after” model, with the last focused on achieving the agreed-upon business outcome with our clients.
- CDW is doing the right things when it comes to services. It may sound odd for me to point this out, but CDW is in the midst of a large transition where we are growing our service capabilities. We want to be better known in the marketplace as a services provider. So, I think it’s important to point this out to those new to the idea of CDW as a services provider.
- Services organizations are adopting a LAER model for growing existing accounts. LAER stands for Land, Adopt, Expand and Renew. Companies are finding a wealth of opportunity with existing clients by working closely with them to understand their business needs and designing outcome-based solutions to meet those needs. Our managed services team is taking a similar approach, working more closely with our clients than ever before to build lasting partnerships to deliver positive outcomes for both our clients.
Services Solving Business Challenges
Looking around at TSW, I really felt like we belonged there. We are using the right metrics and entering into the right markets, particularly with Device as a Service, CDW Technology Support and some of our new cloud-based managed offerings. For me, this was very validating and I felt this should be a message shared with our current and perspective customers. Our services model is heading in the right direction across all services, and we look forward to making you more familiar with our offerings and the ways we can work with you to solve your business challenges.